Telecommunicator: ‘We are the strength behind our first responders’
This article was originally posted at JDNews.com, January 27, 2017. Reprinted with permission.
By Amanda Thames
Editor’s Note: The First Responders Friday series is a weekly feature focusing on the men and women in law enforcement, emergency services and fire services who serve in our community every day.
Name: Marsha Mason
Years served total: 3
Current place of employment: Onslow County Emergency Services
Rank or title: Telecommunicator
What made you decide on this career path? My fiancé made a major career change back in 2010 to law enforcement. We were both in our 40s and I was working from home with a call center. My fiancé suggested I would be good in the center, so I chose to move into the public service field as well. I originally started with another local agency but was able to move to Onslow County Emergency Services in the fall of 2014. My other half works as an officer for a local police department in the county, and I wanted to be able to serve the officers of my county as well as our other first responders.
What is it you love about working in your community? I love knowing that I am able to keep our responders safe, as well as help the citizens of our community. This is a love that no one can understand. As a dispatcher, you are rarely seen, but (are) the first to respond to critical incidents. We have to remain calm on your worst day, but in the end we rarely know the outcome. The fast pace and ever-changing day is something we dread, but we have all grown to love.
Describe some of your favorite experiences in your career. I have birthed a child, worked CPR to save a life, and helped many citizens get help through medical or police. The far worst and best experience I have ever had is to be there for a young man as his friend passed away. The young men were about my son’s age, and the whole call hit close to my heart. I think I realized at that time how quick our lives can change. I am just glad I could “hypothetically” hold his hand in such a horrific moment.
Where else have you worked in the past? Describe the road to your current position. I have worked several jobs in the past to include factory work, assisting in managing a hotel, a coffee shop, a call center, and now here I am. I wish I would have started this much sooner.
What was the most memorable case you’ve worked? I helped a mother save her son who was in the act of committing suicide. We saved him; hopefully, he got the help he needed. Again, one of those things you never hear the end result.
What pushes you to stay on this career path and continue working in such a challenging profession? This career has brought me joy and sadness. My ability to stay calm when the public is having their worst day makes my heart warm. I love the satisfaction of knowing my first responders go home to their families, and the community can get the help they need with a quick call. We do not get much recognition for what we do, that comes from within ourselves. I have been on the other side of 9-1-1 in previous years. I was the active domestic or the caller with the child that is not breathing. I have lived those moments and know what it is like. I feel complete being able to be there for those callers.
Any additional comments you’d like to include: This career takes a special person, not everyone can handle this kind of stress. We are 9-1-1, and we are the strength behind our responders.
Want to nominate someone for FRF? Contact Amanda Thames at Amanda.Thames@JDNews.com with the person’s name, phone number, what organization they work for and a brief reason why you think they should be featured.